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Lolei Temple

Angkor, Cambodia

Temple of the Ancient Island

The temple of Lolei was built in 893 AD under the reign of King  Yasovarman I as part of the ancient Khmer capital of Hariharalaya, which is part of the Roluos group of monuments. Located on an artificial  island in the center of a man-made lake called Indratataka, Lolei was closely associated with the island temple of Bakong just to the south, and as such, is one of the earliest major temple complexes constructed in the Angkor area. Legends tell that Indratataka lake was inhabited by the Naga serpent deity who caused storms and flooding, and appeased only by sacrifices. Therefore, Lolei may have served as both a temple and as a place for people to take refuge from the wrath of the powerful serpent. The once four central towers of the temple also represent the peaks of Mount Meru, home of the Hindu gods.

Today, Lolei lies in partial ruin, choking with enormous kapok and strangler fig trees that both support and destabilize the crumbling laterite and sandstone structures. The towers have collapsed, leaving only two corners standing. Many of the carved depictions of Hindu stories have worn away with time, but Lolei still remains a profoundly moving monument intertwined with nature amidst the vast, forested landscape of Angkor's lost treasures. Exploration of this lesser visited temple provides a glimpse into a different side of the Khmer empire, one before the grand constructions of Angkor Wat.


Use the interactive map to also discover nearby treasures.



Situated within the ancient Khmer capital of Hariharalaya, on an artificial island in the center of the Indratataka baray.


Built in 893 AD under King Yasovarman I, one of the earliest major temples constructed in the Angkor region.


Served as a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu. The four towers represented Mount Meru, home of the gods.


Remains in partial ruin, with vegetation overtaking the crumbling sandstone structures. Ongoing preservation efforts.


Lolei Temple

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Temple of the Ancient Island


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